Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘crime in Paris’

 

B7R_VyiCAAAprac

An attack on a police wagon. Criminal gangs were the scourge of Paris

 

It was never easy to police Paris. The Parisians, instead of being glad for the help and protection, have always despised their policemen.  The contempt has been profound and general. It could be that the Parisians, more than most, don’t want to be told how to behave. A strike, a riot, a revolution, have been their tools of political and social change across the 19th century and well beyond. To say that policing during the Belle Epoque  (1870 – 1914) was a martyrdom would be a slight exaggeration but it was a very hard job on a tiny pay. The police staff was recruited mostly from the army and the discipline in the police corps was just as hard, if not harder. The recruits had to have a virginal criminal record. According to the 1880s tariff, the policeman earned 4 francs and 75 cents for an eleven and a half-hour day. In comparison, a maid-of-all-work touched one franc a day.  For that pitiful wage, the men had to risk their lives in many wild scenarios that are nowadays shared among different rescue services. In 1884, for example, the statistics show one killed policeman and 144 injured ones.

Let’s have a look at a policeman’s day and the variety of crimes committed in that era:

 

CXRfRiEWMAEGWaZ

Strikes of all sorts are still part of the urban life in Paris

 

B7R9GrSCEAAcZ1o

The Belle Epoque Paris faced the threat of various anarchist bomb-throwers. Bombs exploded in the National Assembly, in police stations, in cafés, or simply in the street. Premature explosions also happened, as in this picture

 

 

B6nbiV_CcAEdcjL

The public, accustomed to the explosion of anarchists’ bombs, reacts to a malfunctioning motorcar

 

"" Jeanne Weber

Police had to deal with the raging crowd when a hated criminal was transported. Here they protect Jeanne Weber, a serial child killer

 

 

B6nPpV1CAAAeUkJ

Arrestation of the Sirène de Reuilly. Marie-Thérèse de Gordoue, or simply Gourdon in real life, was a successful courtesan and the head of a large crime organization

 

B7R8U3ICUAE-T29

Criminal gang members, suspected of snitching, were separated from their noses during a surgery without anesthesia

 

B5y4bDrCUAAYEgL

Shopkeepers, working alone, were often victims of robbery and murder

 

 

B5l5JhvCEAAdgwf

The Bois de Boulogne on the outskirts of the city continues to this day to be the playground of vice and crime. From time to time, the authorities ordered a thorough cleanup.

 

B5l6lD5CUAA53fY

A police raid in a “hôtel de passe”. These establishments rented rooms on the hour. Considered immoral, they were often visited by the police. Men went scot-free but women caught in the raid were transported to the police depot, and from there to the Saint-Lazare female prison

 

B7RlOejCcAANX7K

Escapes and roof chases kept the policemen in good physical condition

 

CXKabkyWwAAMo--

The police operated at various height levels. A pickpocket plucked from a tree

 

CXKa4ViWkAMdorI

At the commissariat, a thief surrenders a watch he had swallowed

 

B7SHl6ZCQAAVQyA

Family drama: The father is not dead yet but the fierce competition among the siblings is already in a full swing

 

B7Rjn0QCEAAN88V

A police commissaire is seriously injured in a Paris riot

 

B7RyWYFCcAErNn9

Another victim of duty, an undercover police officer is shot in front of the Moulin Rouge

 

B5VmA1bCMAAiX-l

Acts of bravery and dedication abounded despite the public contempt for policemen

 

Related posts:

The Gangs of Paris: Les Apaches

Murder Most Horrible: The Bloody Trunk Case

Saint-Lazare: Women in Prison

1890’s Terror in Paris: History Repeating Itself

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

 

Capture

In the Parisian Prostitutes series we met la gigolette. (” …She is the mistress of the garroters of La Vilette or the stabbers of Grenelle. She it is who beguiles the passer-by, decoys him into an ambush, and she whistles for her souteneur, who rushes up with his companions “to do for the cove”…) Now let me introduce you to la gigolette’s male counterpart: the Apache.

In the Victorian times, Paris suffered an overwhelming criminality – 48 times stronger than that of today. Eight thousand policemen faced some 30 thousand mobile gang members in addition to other criminals. Known for their fierceness, the gangs were called Apaches. Moving only in groups, these young men from disadvantaged neighborhoods employed swindle, street robbery, and pimping. They were recognizable by the “doe eye”, a small tattoo around the eyes and their attire consisted of bell pants, a half-opened jacket revealing a jersey or a crumpled shirt, cap on head, and meticulously polished shoes.

The Apache culture included original weapons and combat techniques best described in the website The Dirty Tricks of the French Apache.

apaches armes

The Apache Danse is a cultural heritage equal to the famous can-can. The performance of a dominating male and an abused female was very violent and sometimes caused injury to the dancers.

Related posts:

Parisian Prostitutes (2): La Gigolette

The Policeman Work is Never Done

Slumming It in Paris

Mark Twain and the Cancan

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: